Creating the Worlds of Star Wars: 365 Days Hardcover – Oct 1 2005
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From School Library Journal
Adult/High School–Star Wars visual effects supervisor Knoll serves as tour guide on a behind-the-scenes journey, covering all six films in the 365 Days series. The book is a comprehensive resource that includes breathtaking, 360-degree panoramic shots of sets and models as well as concept art, props, film stills, and memorabilia. The author includes firsthand descriptions of both the shots and techniques that made the movies a success. In addition to never-before-seen images, the book contains enough trivia to make any fan happy. Because of its small size, it is easy to hold, and the format is easy to read; each day includes one full-page photo on a facing page and a half-page narrative that explains the techniques in a way that even non-techies can understand. A CD-ROM contains more than 100 QuickTime VR 360-degree panoramas.–Erin Dennington, Chantilly Regional Library, Fairfax County, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
About the Author
John Knoll is visual effects supervisor at Industrial Light & Magic, three-time Academy Award nominee, and a creator of Adobe Photoshop.
Top Customer Reviews
|Length: 0:20 Mins|
"The object of this book is to reveal how the environments of Star Wars were created, and to explain why some were done one way and some another."
Specifically, there are 365 chapters. They are chapters because one of them talks about the founding of ILM, and the other on the staffing. Both of which I think can't be done in a single day. The rest of the chapters are on how they create the sets, props, environment, vehicles and ships.
Not just creation, the book also includes how they the props were used to create illusions. For example, Luke's speed was supported by a welded pipe, shot out of frame or blocked by an object like R2D2. To show the speeder movie, a mirror was place underneath it to reflect the ground, creating the illusion that it's floating on air.
The book is very thick because each chapter has two pages. The left explains while the right provides the photos, often spilling over. This book is easily a nice photography book without any text.
The chapters cover all the six episodes. One can easily see how movie making and technology have evolved since the first Star Wars movie. The book also comes with a CD, containing additional photos and videos on the props creation.
This should be another wonderful addition for any Star Wars fans.
There are more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.
It's also clear that the author was not a participant in the original three productions (IV, V, and VI)--his coverage of these is less extensive than the new movies of which he was a part, taking up only 116 pages--less than half--of a book that covers the six movies (episodes I, II, and III get 249 pages). Being an old school Star Wars fan, I preferred Lorne Peterson's Sculpting a Galaxy for its thorough coverage of the special effects of the early films.
My one complaint with this book is that the author acquired a new toy--a digital camera with a fish-eye lens--and drastically overused fish-eye photos in the last half of the book. I find the photos taken with the fish-eye lens almost dizzying, and it's very difficult to sort out what's truly where, when it's all spread out flat across a page. I really wish he'd limited these photos to only one or two, for sets that would be best shown with its perspective (a fish-eye view of a speeder cockpit??? Come on!).
The format of this book is also odd; only half as tall as a normal coffee-table book though just as wide, and about two inches thick; no doubt to make it the 365 pages the title claims. I would have liked larger pages that translated into larger photos--many are the size of thumbnails.
Overall, interesting reading, but not comprehensive.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
To continue this review with examples from the book will not do it justice. The book is configured in a way such that facing pages have incredible photos and a very succinct narrative, rarely more than half a page long. Not that a lot of text would be bad, but Knoll does a such good job of telling the story in this fashion that more text would just take up the room where more of those 'thousand word' pictures could go!
The photographs in this work are excellent. Particularly welcome are all the new photos from the first 3 films. Most have never been seen before and those alone are worth the price of this book. And speaking of the price-- $30 full retail is the deal of the century, gang. This book is hardbound for the ages, too.
My personal request would be that Mr. Knoll continue with additional volumes on a yearly basis, but I have a feeling that would not be in the cards-- he's one busy guy. I think it would be a great idea to devote each additional volume to a single film at a time, particularly the first 3 films. As wonderful as this book is, and being the gluttons that we are, 365 'days' does not provide enough coverage for all 6 films!
Finally, in case you are not aware-- this book is a rather odd format in that it measures 6.5 by 9.5 inches and is 2.25 inches thick. Sort of a 'wide screen' format. But, don't let that phase you. Its a coffee table book that fits on the smallest of coffee tables-- and its easy to read in bed!
The biggest problem, and the cause of the other two problems, is that the book is no more than 1/4 of the MINIMUM size it should be. Apart from its thickness, this thing is small - travel-book dimensions. This kind of pictorial reference should absolutely not be presented in this kind of pocket-book shrunken format. This deserves to be at least 200% larger in both horizontal and vertical dimensions: 18x12 instead of 9x6.
Because the pages are so small, anything not presented as a full-page spread is tiny. I mean TINY. Many images are no bigger than a postage stamp. If you're thinking of breaking out a magnifying glass, don't bother because the print resolution isn't fine enough to bring out any additional detail with magnification. But do save that magnifying glass for the next problem.
The type is set very small to allow rather large amounts of text to be included. The large amount of text is welcome, but this isn't a book you're going to enjoy in bed nor in the family/living room under any kind of dim lighting. Save reading time for outdoors on a nice sunny day or in a brightly lit kitchen. Before anyone questions my vision, I have mild corrective lenses and with them I'm very close to 20/20. I also have no problems with near-sightedness.
I sincerely hope the publisher will consider a change of format for their next printing. The book deserves it. The franchise deserves it. As it stands, this edition is kind of 50/50. I won't get as much use out of it as I'd like because of the tiny pictures, and I suspect many people will feel the same way once they have it in their hands.
As a Star Wars fan, the inside info and the photos, especially the 360 degree panoramas, are quite illuminating and enjoyable.
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